Home All Word Recipes No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cannoli Cheesecake

No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cannoli Cheesecake

by Middleeastsector
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A cannoli is a classic Italian pastry. With its crispy shell and creamy, cool, slightly sweet ricotta filling, it checks all the boxes of a delicious dessert (particularly when a little chocolate is added). Here, I have taken everything that everyone loves in a cannoli (including the not-always-traditional, but always welcome pistachio) and created a no-bake cannoli-inspired cheesecake. Not only does the filling set up solely in the refrigerator, but the crust is no-bake as well. A little stint in the freezer while you prepare the filling is all the crust needs to provide a sturdy base for the filling. Often no-bake cheesecakes require gelatin, which can be a tad fussy. Here, we avoid it by adding cream cheese to the filling, which ensures that the cake sets up properly in the refrigerator and slices beautifully come serving time.

Orange zest and cinnamon give the cake loads of Italian pastry vibes — and the orange zest adds wonderful flecks of bright color, as do the mini chocolate chips, which are used in the batter and as a garnish, along with the aforementioned pistachios. Use salted and roasted if you can find them, as the savory, crunchy contrast of the nuts to the soft, sweet filling, is not to be missed. The crust itself is a nod to the cannoli shell. It is a wonderful supporting player to the filling’s starring role in the cake without being overwhelming. However, if you would rather pair the filling with a graham cracker crumb crust, or even a chocolate wafer crumb crust, by all means do so. Finally, ricotta cheese can be a tad grainy — this is normal — and if your filling is not completely smooth when you pour it over the prepared crust, don’t be alarmed. Once the cake sets up and is sliced you won’t notice.

TECHNIQUE TIP: Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature or it will be lumpy once you begin to beat it. And while beating, keep the mixer on medium to medium-low speed to ensure that you don’t overbeat it. Otherwise, the cake’s filling will lose structure and won’t set up properly. The ricotta should also be at room temperature, so it can easily combine with the cream cheese.

When removing the cake from the pan, parchment paper is your friend. The sides should pop off easily, and then you can peel away the paper. To remove the cake from the pan’s metal bottom, stick a long serrated knife between the paper and the cake to release it from the pan and then gently nudge and lift the cake, using the knife, onto a serving plate.

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SWAP OPTION: You can use graham crackers or chocolate wafer cookies – which would be so pretty and delicious – instead of the vanilla. You can use unsalted nuts, instead of the roasted and salted called for here, but I like the contrasting flavors. You can also use lemon zest, instead of the orange, or leave out the zest entirely.

Ingredients:

Crust:
1 package (4 ounces) cannoli shells
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup butter, melted
Filling:
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon rum extract
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
Chopped pistachios, optional

Directions:

Pulse cannoli shells in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. Add sugar, graham cracker crumbs, and melted butter; pulse just until combined. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of a greased 9-inch pie plate. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
Beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, orange zest, and cinnamon until blended. Beat in ricotta cheese, vanilla extract, and rum extract. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread the mixture into the prepared crust.
Refrigerate, covered, until set, about 4 hours. If desired, top with chopped pistachios.

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